Posted tagged ‘human development’

UPDATE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, PH AT MEDIUM SCORE

August 16, 2011

UPDATE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, PH AT MEDIUM SCORE
Erle Frayne D. Argonza

In the latest UNDP report on human development, 169 countries were evaluated and scored accordingly. Four general ranking scales were employed and countries properly fit based on their scores, to note: Very High Human Development, High Human Development, Medium Human Development, and Low Human Development.
My country the Philippines was ranked No. 99, and was classed among the Medium Human Development countries. After two (2) decades or so of UNDP, PH remains at the medium HD level, and so the message is clear here: work harder to graduate to High HD level.
The industrialized countries happen to comprise the core of the Very High HD. That is indicative enough of their greatest formula for achieving developed country status before the 2nd world war yet: their successes in capacity-building. A well-capacitated work force redounds to high productivity, high value-added indices, and high incomes.
The ranking is shown in the table below.
[Philippines, 10 July 2011]
Source: http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/
Human Development Index (HDI) – 2010 Rankings
Very High
Human Development
1. Norway
2. Australia
3. New Zealand
4. United States
5. Ireland
6. Liechtenstein
7. Netherlands
8. Canada
9. Sweden
10. Germany
11. Japan
12. Korea (Republic of)
13. Switzerland
14. France
15. Israel
16. Finland
17. Iceland
18. Belgium
19. Denmark
20. Spain
21. Hong Kong, China (SAR)
22. Greece
23. Italy
24. Luxembourg
25. Austria
26. United Kingdom
27. Singapore
28. Czech Republic
29. Slovenia
30. Andorra
31. Slovakia
32. United Arab Emirates
33. Malta
34. Estonia
35. Cyprus
36. Hungary
37. Brunei Darussalam
38. Qatar
39. Bahrain
40. Portugal
41. Poland
42. Barbados
High
Human Development
43. Bahamas
44. Lithuania
45. Chile
46. Argentina
47. Kuwait
48. Latvia
49. Montenegro
50. Romania
51. Croatia
52. Uruguay
53. Cuba*
54. Palau*
53. Libya
54. Panama
55. Saudi Arabia
56. Mexico
57. Malaysia
58. Bulgaria
59. Trinidad and Tobago
60. Serbia
61. Belarus
62. Costa Rica
63. Peru
64. Albania
65. Russian Federation
66. Kazakhstan
67. Azerbaijan
68. Bosnia and Herzegovina
69. Ukraine
70. Iran (Islamic Republic of)
71. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
72. Mauritius
73. Brazil
74. Georgia
75. Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
76. Armenia
77. Ecuador
78. Belize
79. Colombia
80. Jamaica
81. Tunisia
82. Jordan
83. Turkey
84. Algeria
85. Tonga
Medium
Human Development
86. Fiji
87. Turkmenistan
88. Dominican Republic
89. China
90. El Salvador
91. Sri Lanka
92. Thailand
93. Gabon
94. Suriname
97. Occupied Palestinian Territory*
97. Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
98. Paraguay
99. Philippines
100. Botswana
101. Moldova (Republic of)
102. Mongolia
103. Egypt
104. Uzbekistan
105. Micronesia (Federated States of)
106. Guyana
107. Namibia
108. Honduras
109. Maldives
110. Indonesia
111. Kyrgyzstan
112. South Africa
113. Syrian Arab Republic
114. Tajikistan
115. Viet Nam
116. Morocco
117. Nicaragua
118. Guatemala
119. Equatorial Guinea
120. Cape Verde
121. India
122. Timor-Leste
123. Swaziland
124. Lao People’s Democratic Republic
125. Solomon Islands
126. Cambodia
127. Pakistan
128. Congo
129. São Tomé and Príncipe
Low
Human Development
128. Kenya
129. Bangladesh
130. Ghana
131. Cameroon
132. Myanmar
133. Yemen
134. Benin
135. Madagascar
136. Mauritania
137. Papua New Guinea
138. Nepal
139. Togo
140. Comoros
141. Lesotho
142. Nigeria
143. Uganda
144. Senegal
145. Haiti
146. Angola
147. Djibouti
148. Tanzania (United Republic of)
149. Côte d’Ivoire
150. Zambia
151. Gambia
152. Rwanda
153. Malawi
154. Sudan
155. Afghanistan
156. Guinea
157. Ethiopia
158. Sierra Leone
159. Central African Republic
160. Mali
161. Burkina Faso
162. Liberia
163. Chad
164. Guinea-Bissau
165. Mozambique
166. Burundi
167. Niger
168. Congo (Democratic Republic of the)
169. Zimbabwe

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs & website anytime!

Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:
COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:
ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:
@MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com
@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website:
PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA: http://erleargonza.com

Advertisements

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT WORLDWIDE ON UPSWING

August 16, 2011

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT WORLDWIDE ON UPSWING
Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Two (2) decades ago the United Nations Development Program or UNDP released a new ‘social technology’ for measuring development. The overall methodoly & tool has been known as the Human Development Index or HDI.
The HDI, from its very inception, looked at measures of development other than the stereotype economic growth indices: GNP, GDP, GDP per capita. Among the novel measures that it introduced are: (a) health, measured thru longevity; (b) education, measured thru literacy rates; and, (c) gender parity, thru the gender empowerment measurement or GEM.
After two (2) decades of consistent assessments and evaluations of nations using the HDI, we hear the gladdening news straight from the UNDP that human development has been improving. However, developing countries or DCs shouldn’t be complacent and leave everything to natural processes, just because their respective HDIs are improving.
The specific country HDIs should serve as yardsticks and alarm bells for country stakeholders—state, market, civil society—to act upon. The message is clear hence: that infrastructures and natural resources alone do not make a country developed.
77% of development requisites are in the nature of human & social capital, which requires heavy investments in human development as a whole. Institutional development and capacity-building are the keys to waging a successful campaign to accelerate human development.
Below is the latest capsule summary of the UNDP regarding HDI.
[Philippines, 10 July 2011]
Source: http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2010/summary/
Summary – The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development
“People are the real wealth of a nation.” With these words the 1990 Human Development Report began a forceful case for a new approach to thinking about development. That the objective of development should be to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives may appear self-evident today. But that has not always been the case. A central objective of the Report for the past 20 years has been to emphasize that development is primarily and fundamentally about people.
This year’s Report celebrates the contributions of the human development approach, which is as relevant as ever to making sense of our changing world and finding ways to improve people’s well-being. Indeed, human development is an evolving idea—not a fixed, static set of precepts—and as the world changes, analytical tools and concepts evolve. So this Report is also about how the human development approach can adjust to meet the challenges of the new millennium.
The past 20 years have seen substantial progress in many aspects of human development. Most people today are healthier, live longer, are more educated and have more access to goods and services. Even in countries facing adverse economic conditions, people’s health and education have greatly improved. And there has been progress not only in improving health and education and raising income, but also in expanding people’s power to select leaders, influence public decisions and share knowledge.
Yet not all sides of the story are positive. These years have also seen increasing inequality— both within and across countries— as well as production and consumption patterns that have increasingly been revealed as unsustainable. Progress has varied, and people in some regions—such as Southern Africa and the former Soviet Union—have experienced periods of regress, especially in health. New vulnerabilities require innovative public policies to confront risk and inequalities while harnessing dynamic market forces for the benefit of all.
Addressing these issues requires new tools. In this Report we introduce three measures to the Report family of indices—the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index and the Multidimensional Poverty Index. These state-of-the-art measures incorporate recent advances in theory and measurement and support the centrality of inequality and poverty in the human development framework. We introduce these experimental series with the intention of stimulating reasoned public debate beyond the traditional focus on aggregates.
Today’s challenges also require a new policy outlook. While there are no silver bullets or magic potions for human development, some policy implications are clear. First, we cannot assume that future development will mimic past advances: opportunities today and in the future are greater in many respects. Second, varied experiences and specific contexts preclude overarching policy prescriptions and point towards more general principles and guidelines. Third, major new challenges must be addressed—most prominently, climate change.
Many challenges lie ahead. Some are related to policy: development policies must be based on the local context and sound overarching principles; numerous problems go beyond the capacity of individual states and require democratically accountable global institutions. There are also implications for research: deeper analysis of the surprisingly weak relationship between economic growth and improvements in health and education and careful consideration of how the multidimensionality of development objectives affects development thinking are just two examples.
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs & website anytime!

Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:
COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:
ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:
@MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com
@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website:
PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA: http://erleargonza.com

LARGE CLASS IN UNIVERSITIES: OUTDATED, AUTHORITARIAN!

June 24, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

It’s late afternoon as I write this piece, and it’s the longest day in the northern hemisphere too (summer solstice). I will devote this piece to the matter of large university classes that are the mode of instruction in many academic institutions across the globe. 

Large classes are a thing of the past. The large class modality was referred to as ‘Great Man pedagogy’ in Europe, and was critically challenged by the youth and professors during the stormy youth heydays of the 1960s and ‘70s. 

The human psyche is rapidly evolving towards greater individuation. As we humans become more individuated, the educational instruction fit for us is one that should account for and enable our individuality, even up to the point of providing ample space for eccentricity in each one. 

In the olden days, when the Herd Mind or folk mind was the characteristic psyche of the people, the modality of instructions was one that would fit them well. Large classes evoked the ‘Herd instinct’ (Nietszchean label for the same), and unconsciously provided a semblance of community for peoples of those ancient times who were cut off from family & village to study in the university. 

The coming of the Industrial Age, right after the conclusion of the 30 Years War (1618-48), ushered the ‘assembly line’ of mass production of articles of manufactures. The ‘assembly line’ method found its concomitant equivalent in the Great Man pedagogy which churned out collegiate graduates like commodities for sale in a rapidly expanding labor market. 

Up until the late 19th century, during the Victorian Era that is the nadir of the modern age, Great Man pedagogy was a largely unquestioned modality of instruction. As the crisis of the early 20th century set in, the same pedagogy found perfect compatibility with the nascent totalitarian ideologies and systems of that era (fascism, Nazism, communism). 

Indubitably, the success of ‘assembly line’ classes was effective only insofar as the psyche remained as more folk-mind or herd-oriented. As the psyche mutates to more individuated type, it will militate against anything that brings it back to the Herd: subject to manipulation and shaping by authoritarian if not sociopathic interest groups and persons. 

Sure enough, as the youth rebellion of the 60s set in, the students of the Sorbonne in Paris burst out in revolt against the Great Man pedagogy circa 1968. Other universities quickly caught up the fiery flames of the revolt and followed suit in a tempo of upheavals that were largely unplanned and spontaneous. 

Accustomed to bureaucratism and pork barrel largesse that went with mainstream political power, the French Communist Party was caught flat-footed by that revolt. Tailing behind the event that indicated its being mired in intellectual bankruptcy and betrayed its archaic mindset, the communists lose relevance almost overnight. 

Had the communists grasped that event quickly and seized the opportunity by siding with the anti-large class youth, the sociopolitical landscape of France and Europe could have changed forever. A social revolution of a new kind, bred by a fusion of working class militancy and youth revulsion against archaic pedagogy and culture, could have been registered in the annals of history as worth our positive valuation. 

It is shocking to find out that the large class modality is still around with us today. It is anathema to the goal of human liberation, even as it could be a launching ground to breed new ‘boot camp’ babies for certain interest groups of a fascistic/authoritarian nature. 

The Industrial Age had now passed away, and the Post-Industrial/Postmodern Age has brought along with it an erasure (sous rapture) of the dividing line between Reason and Madness. Fascism is resurgent worldwide, and before we’d notice it a global state would be in the offing that is orchestrated by an ideological force of global Bonaparte. 

If the large class modality is re-introduced in any university whatsoever, it should only be on an interim phase. It is a regressive  move, and running counter to the gamut of psychical individuation, it will erode in time and be abolished across the globe. 

Should there be a youth revolt against this antiquated pedagogy in my own home country, I will be glad to make my presence in the barricades to be set up.

[Philippines, 21 June 2012] 

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

FORESTRY EDUCATION & TRAINING UPDATE

October 6, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Forestry education is among those human development engagements that are urgently being delivered today.

A study done in Kenya, by Temu A & Kiwia A, examined how future forestry education can respond to expanding societal needs. The study is summarized below.

[04 October 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to Eldis database reports.]

Future forestry education. Responding to expanding societal needs

Authors: Temu,A.; Kiwia,A.
Produced by: World Agroforestry Centre (2008)

Forestry education in recent years has largely failed to adequately respond to the dynamics in forestry practice, the demands of the job market and the challenges of new global forestry paradigms.

This policy brief consolidates recommendations of the first global workshop on forestry education held in September 2007, at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya. Attended by 85 participants from 29 countries representing Africa, Asia, North and South America and Europe, the workshop deliberated on vital issues for guiding, coordinating and linking relevant institutions and stakeholders in the process of transforming forestry education. They agreed that:

  • increased investment in forestry capacity is imperative
  • improved coordination mechanisms are key at national, regional and global scales to reinforce the quality and content of forestry education and training
  • enhanced harmonisation of forestry with other related sectors is needed in order to achieve synergy of strategies and actions
  • regional and global mechanisms for collaboration in forestry education be established and sustained

The brief asserts that major changes in forestry education, research and practice are urgently needed to improve relevance and popularise forest science, technologies and practices. Obvious implications for neglecting forestry education are noted as:

  • schools of forestry will continue to produce inadequate graduates, lacking the required expertise to handle the emerging complex societal and environmental challenges
  • forestry professional ethics could deteriorate further, leading to indiscriminate destruction of natural resources – the backbone of human livelihood
  • due to the link between agriculture and forestry, the destruction of forests may lead to water flow challenges impacting on food security
  • our knowledge and capacity to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change will remain weak, further accelerating global warming, flash floods and droughts
  • further losses of biodiversity will deny the world of important plants and animals with the potential to solve health and other problems

Available online at: http://www.eldis.org/cf/rdr/?doc=39445&em=240908&sub=enviro

LOCAL GOVERNANCE IN SUSTAINABLE NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

August 22, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Various approaches and forms of intervention regarding sustainable natural resource management—soils, water, forests, biodiversity—were introduced across many developing countries over the past years. Some cases of experiences regarding those intervention methods that impact directly on the livelihoods of people would be fit for reflections.

Below is a case study on how local governance institutions dovetailed into sustainable natural resources management in three (3) African countries.

[10 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to eldis.org database news.]

Local governance institutions for sustainable natural resource management in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger

Authors: Hilhorst,T.
Produced by: Royal Tropical Institute (2008)

This paper reflects on experiences from research and interventions in the Sahel on management of renewable natural resources – soils, water, forests, and biodiversity – for the purpose of food and income generation. It focuses on local governance institutions in relation to natural resource entitlements, use and decision-making on management in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

The study explores the range of existing local governance institutions that is best managed at this level for each resource type, prevailing local institutions for governing natural resources and trends. Particular attention is paid to the influence of customary institutions, project interventions, and democratic decentralisation.

It is argued that development agencies can play a role in strengthening local governance institutions for sustainable natural resource management by:

  1.  
    • holding governments to account for the policies it has signed up to as part of agreements around sector and budget support
    • contributing to a more conducive policy context for decentralised management of natural resources and local governance institutions, by supporting the governments of the three countries in finalising the legislation that is being planned, developing the accompanying decrees and procedures, and supporting implementation and monitoring the effects, such as on women and marginal groups
    • encouraging policy alignment and harmonisation, for example through the linking of decentralisation policy with natural resource management, environmental protection and land administration
    • improving the quality of policy implementation through occasional support to pilot activities to promote the testing of new approaches on institutional solutions to natural resource-related problems in different contexts

The paper concludes that effective local governance institutions for natural resource management contribute to sustainability, local economic development, and conflict prevention. The need for such institutions is increasing, given the growing pressure on, and competition over, land and natural resources. The authors argue that policies in support of natural resource management benefit from pooling knowledge and research, joint strategy development and division of labour amongst development partners. Ultimately, they argue, such policies will be judged on the extent to which these strengthen local capacities to manage and use natural resources in a sustainably way and enhance justice in natural resource governance.

Available online at: http://www.eldis.org/cf/rdr/?doc=38277&em=310708&sub=enviro

HUMAN CAPITAL: PEOPLE ARE MOST VALUABLE

April 28, 2008

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

[Writ 23 March 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

New Nationalism, as I argued in the foundational article of mine, must also reckon with people as the most important assets of economy and society. The contention cogitated from the vantage point of human capital.

 

I already elucidated in the portion on ‘basic needs’ that people matter most. Interestingly, in Maoist China, this human capital contention was elevated to the level of cult: the cult of the masses. Mao Zedong himself declared as an adage that “people not things are most decisive.” Many poems and songs were written by the youth vanguards of Mao’s revolution, and this literary-cultural explosion centering on the populist adage spilled over to other developing states as well.

 

Shorn of the cult portion of the adage, the Maoist line makes sense. It coheres with various similar articulations of the same by experts in other countries representing diverse fields notably community development, business administration, and public administration. Today it has become one of the core elements of development: human capital is among the forms of capital needed to pursue development.

 

Much of asset valorizations have so far been premised on finance capital being the core of values. This has to be revised, and I’m very strong in this cogitation for a revision of accounting systems to include human capital.

 

Not only that, there also is ‘social capital’ that operates on the level of the collective which, without doubt, factors in very strongly in development pursuits. It is the core of synergism: building trust through cooperation. This, to my mind, must also be translated in calculable form.

 

The discourse was elaborated via the core contention that is quoted en toto below.

 

People are the most important assets, revise accounting systems!

 

The prevailing mindset perceives assets in terms of physical assets (estates, chattel, monies). Ownership is then defined in terms of right to control and dispose of such assets. Wealth is computed in terms of the values, calibrated through price, created through the utilization of the physical assets. For a while, the classicists introduced the notion of ‘labor theory’ of value, premised upon the value-producing powers of labor. But the efforts of the classicists failed to get translated into acceptable accounting systems, as such systems have always been based on physical assets and prices.

 

Look at what is happening among various agencies, especially business firms: there is a lot of ‘pirating’ of people going on among them! Likewise are there efforts to retrieve those same people ‘pirated’ by competing agencies. The same event holds true for the state and NGO sectors: ‘piracy’ on grand scales! This phenomenon is a clear manifestation that people, not physical assets, are the most important of all in an organization. When an agency loses good personnel, the effect is instantly debilitating, a debilitation that can be offset only through the timely arrival of replacements who are as good as the ones who left. The converse is also true: when an agency needs people to shore up its output levels, ‘pirate’ high-achievers from other agencies most especially those who have “made a name” in the sector concerned. The piracy of people in the entertainment world is even more instructive in indicating to us the central import of people, not physicals, as value producers. We need not belabor the point that the ‘piracy’ strategy comes often in the form of higher pay scales and incentives.

 

That is why it pays so much to manage people well, and to design new organizational principles that would bring out the maximum potencies of people most specially the highly talented ones. Bureaucracies have become outdated dinosaurs, as ‘flat organizations’ have become the wave of the present: the new organizations make plenty of room for self-initiatives, resourcefulness and innovativeness by good staff. Bureaucracies, which follow from only two principles—vertical (hierarchy) and horizontal—can stifle innovativeness, as experiences have shown. The ‘task master’ mindset and ‘boss mentality’, as well as the excessive stress on routinary processes, have turned off many achiever personnel most specially the highly talented ones whose nature of work is ‘symbolic/analytic’ (to use Reich’s term). Today, new principles are emerging that are leading to a massive ‘re-engineering of the organization’, such as Total Quality Management or TQM, web organizational structure, team work principles and ‘human resource empowerment’.

 

Yet inspite of such revolutionary changes and explosion of amazingly appropriate principles about organizations and human resources, no changes are happening in the accounting systems that can correspondingly reproduce the organizational principles taking place. The only appreciable concept is that of GDP Purchasing Power Parity or PPP, which computes total income on the basis of purchasing power of local consumers relative to those of the world’s strongest economy. Using the GDP-PPP, the Philippines’ GDP stood at $379 Billions as of the end of 2003, with GDP-PPP per capita at around $4,600 more or less. (See The World Factbook, 2004, for such index reports.) But this indexing does not in any way address the accounting question raised here.

 

Should the notion of ‘human capital’ become popular, the accounting system should consequently follow. The notions of ownership would then change, indicating the revolutionary implications of the paradigm shift. Those pretending ‘radicals’ of the day, many of whom are steeped in 19th century socialist thought, tend to view the asset realm from the focal lenses of antiquated Victorian-era ownership concepts, and are no less conservative than the oligarchs they sordidly hate. They offer no radical solutions beyond changing (antiquated) asset ownership, strategies that eventually stifle innovativeness and human expression, as criminal Stalinist regimes have shown. New Nationalism must take on the challenge of presenting a far more revolutionary concept that can, in the end, contribute to evolving a strong base of ‘human capital’, ‘social capital’ and ‘strong nation’.

 

RE-ECHOING BASIC NEEDS

April 28, 2008

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

[Writ 22 March 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

“Go back to basic needs,” I declared in the same article on New Nationalism.

 

Sometime back, the ‘basic needs’ framework rang strong bells in the development field as a potent framework for development. Having started with the defunct Ministry of Human Settlements in 1981 as a community development specialist, I still recall then how brilliant and exquisitely crafted was this Ministry’s adoption of the ‘basic needs’ framework as its guiding light.

 

“Higit sa lahat, Tao!” is the core premise of the Ministry’s development paradigm. Roughly, this translates as “man precedes everything else.” Meaning, man should be at the core of all development efforts, and not the objects of a synthetic (infrastructures, industries) or physical nature (raw materials, livestock, plants).

 

Till these days, the powerful Ministry premise had stuck with me. At that time too, the same Ministry already recognized ‘ecological balance’ as among the 11 Basic Needs of Man, and organized ‘ecology brigades’ in advancement of this contention. That was a time when environmentalism wasn’t even born in the country but was just being planted.

 

It need not be overstressed that meeting the basic needs of peoples is a fundamental yardstick for addressing development problems leading to further cooperation and peace among diverse communities. I therefore find it still a potent discourse to re-echo the ‘basic needs’ premise.

 

The excerpts from the article are entirely quoted below.

 

Go back to basic needs.

 

“Spend for your needs but save as much as you can!” would be an apt idiom that could  encapsulate the need to build up national savings within the context of an increasingly consumer-driven economy. It is argued that moderate consumption would be a most fitting behavior in today’s context, while under-consumption and over-consumption are out as they could burn us all out in the process. Consumption saved the day for us in the aftermath of the Asian crisis in 1997, so there is no reason to be morally repulsive about consumerism—provided that it should be a moderated consumerism. Low consumerism brings us back to export-driven strategies, our aggregated wealth production subjected to the vagaries of external markets that are beyond our control; high consumerism, contributing further to high debt levels, as the credit card culture entice people to acquire more articles of consumption through debts, perennially driving our economy to ‘bubble bursts’.

 

The emerging situation should have taught our market players the appropriate lessons at this time. The era of omnipresent and omnipotent markets—for goods of relatively ageless utility, stored in large inventories—is now a foregone era. What we have now is fragmented markets (chaos economics explains this well; see Tom Peters’ works), so the adjustment would be in the form of market niches. Market players should veer away from storing large inventories of a broad array of products, as obsolescence and changing consumer taste undermine the profit-gaining side of such a practice. Rather, they should be sensitive to emerging demands, and customize services and/or tangible goods based on such demands. We Filipinos particularly change taste so often, “madaling magsawa” as we  say it in the vernacular. Which means that fixed products, based on fixed ideas, are simply out of context and out-of-date, and must be reformulated towards more flexible product mixes matrixed with constantly  emerging ideas.

 

On a macro-scale, there is the continuing need to ensure ‘food security’ and its expression in other sectors as well. We should continue to be sensitive to the needs of the larger economy, such as the need for capital goods. We should design ‘vital & strategic commodity security’ frameworks and policies through a combination of domestic production of such goods as well as importation strategies. The continuing absence of strategic industries such as integrated steel could prove degenerative for development efforts such as it has done to our country, while completely shutting us off the international markets for some other goods could likewise be deleterious in the long run since domestic producers would be exercising rent-seeking, pricing articles way beyond five hundred percent (500%) of their opportunity costs as amply demonstrated by industrial chemicals (before the country began importing from China). As current experiments in grain & livestock management show, with appreciable success, the strategy should be to combine domestically produced goods with imported articles, the proper mix of which should be the subject of continuing eco-scanning and constant studies. In the end, all of our individual, community and national needs will be met, building stability and security amid a ‘chaotic’ or turbulent global condition.